Farming Resources Available to Veterans

The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced $5 million in community agriculture programs for veterans. NIFA’s Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AgVets) program specifically targets veterans interested in pursuing a career in the food and agricultural sector. The goal is to equip veterans with the necessary skills, training and experience that lead to meaningful employment opportunities to strengthen personal finances and rural economies.

The most recent announcement highlights eight AgVets projects. Each project provides hands-on, on-site training and classroom education leading to a comprehensive understanding of successful farming and ranching operations and management practices. Projects can also provide workforce preparation and employment opportunities for disabled veterans.

Winners

Southern Rural Institute, Madison, Alabama

The Rural South Institute seeks to empower military veterans and facilitate their equitable access to government programs and resources to successfully transition to civilian life. This project targets Alabama veterans, with particular attention to those currently serving in the Reserves and National Guard and interested in agriculture and entrepreneurship.

Land Learning Center, Woodland, California

The long-term goal of this project is to provide veterans with comprehensive, hands-on agricultural education in the classroom and connect them to support services that will increase their retention in agricultural careers. The target audience includes disabled veterans, female veterans, and socially disadvantaged veterans in the State of California.

Veteran Farmers Coalition, Davis, CA

Veterans Farming Through Adversity connects veterans to an agricultural education and training program of their choice through partnerships with four certified agricultural apprenticeship programs: (a) Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA); (b) Archi’s Acres Institute for Sustainable Agriculture; (c) Rodale Institute Veteran Farmer Training Program; and (d) Texas AgrAbility Battleground to Breaking Ground. The four learning opportunities cover 18 states and a variety of focus areas and products.

Denver Botanical Gardens, Inc., Denver, Colorado

The Denver Botanical Gardens Veterans Farm Program creates crisis recovery opportunities by preparing all veterans for the agricultural labor shortage created by growers retiring or leaving the industry.

Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE) Corp., Manhattan, Kansas

SAVE provides hands-on training and transition assistance to veterans who wish to pursue a career in agriculture or the agricultural industry.

Integrated Food and Agriculture Systems of Michigan, East Lansing, Michigan

The Heroes to Hives (H2H) program is the nation’s largest beekeeping education program with nearly 1,000 alumni operating more than 4,000 hives across the United States. H2H uses a 9-month hybrid educational program that allows students to complete a year of beekeeping training using a self-paced online certificate program combined with hands-on educational experiences at seven Michigan locations.

Whitaker Small Farm Group Inc., Garner, North Carolina

The primary goal of this project is to empower veteran farmers, primarily in eastern North Carolina, with the resources, knowledge, and expertise to make informed decisions to run their farms sustainably and profitably. .

American Farmland Trust, Washington, DC

Veteran Women for the Land aims to foster a community of practice among female veteran farmers in the Pacific Northwest through a series of listening sessions, learning circles and meetings.

Check out more USDA resources available for veterans.

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